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Chapter 2 – Intonation Patterns and Nuclear Tones

Chapter 2, Fig. 8

Distinguishing Fall and Rise Intonation

 

Listen to this example. Is the intonation marked correctly?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, (↘) / there are several considerations (↗)/that we need to take into account. (↘)/”

 

  Click here for correct answer!

 

considerations jpg

 

Chapter 2, Fig 9

 

(this is a more detailed description with additional charts)

 

Let’s now compare how the same sentence will sound with different intonations. 

This is the sentence we will use:

“It is impossible to cover all the topics in a small presentation, however, the two major areas are pharmaceuticals and industrial biotechnology”

 

Chapter 2, Fig 9, Example 1:

 

Listen to this example:

 

This is what Speech Analyzer shows:

2-9-1 copy

“It is impossible (↘) to cover all (↘) the topics(↘) in a small presentation (↗)/, however/, the two (↗) major areas are (↗) pharmaceuticals (↗)and industrial biotechnology(↘)”

As you can hear, the intonation is all over the map: it is constantly jumping up and down. We can hear it especially in “presentation”, “the two” and “pharmaceutics” – the rise intonation creates the impression of uncertainty and lack of confidence. There are no logical pauses between syntagms – it is one long unbroken hard to perceive sentence.

This kind of “sing song” intonation must certainly be avoided by any interpreter!

 

Chapter 2, Fig 9, Example 2:

 

Our next attempt will sound a bit artificial but let us try to break the sentence into logical units, make pauses between them and use the fall intonation at the end of its syntagms.

“It is impossible (↘) to cover all (↘) the topics(↘) in a small presentation (↘)/, however/, the two major areas are  pharmaceuticals (↘)and industrial biotechnology(↘)”

 

And the Speech Analyzer shows us:

2-9-2 copy

 

We can see the fall intonation in the words : “presentation”, “pharmaceuticals” and “biotechnology”. Sounds a bit more manageable!

 

Chapter 2, Fig 9, Example 3:

 

Now let us hear what impact fall intonation can have on our interpretation if we use it both for words and syllables and syntagms:

 

We have several topics ↘ in our agenda ↘today ↘. They are ↘: pharmaceuticals ↘, developing new↘ drugs ↘, cancer ↘prevention ↘, and others ↘.

 

 

Here is what speech analyzer shows:

Exercise 9, Example 3

Record yourself and see if you like this intonation pattern in your own voice. It is all about discovering what works for you. Ask others what they think too! Do you sound more confident if you use more fall intonation?

 

 

 

Chapter 2, Exercise 2

Working on Fall type Intonation:

“Eeeea” Exercise to learn the fall intonation pattern.

eeeea screenshot

 

 

Chapter 2, Exercise 4

Practicing fall intonation with collocations.

We deliberately use meaningless word combinations for you to pay attention to intonation and not to meaning. Then it may be easier for you to internalize on the physical level the sensation of the fall intonation.   

Good flow, hidden lake, wet copper, temporary lid, charming partner, implicit comparison, subjective script, daily stair, basic disaster, beneficial hierarchy, autonomous reader, false molecule, single factory, genuine garage, broken hole, frozen need, working shore, remote bed, pleased warranty, expensive favorite, lexical pal, mature locomotive, specified hope, alive willingness, part-time individual, mental negotiation, automatic representative, improved bird, impressive confession, lively company, royal dozen, total contradiction, occasional curiosity, busy beard.

 

 

first 5 words

Intonation diagram of the first 5 word pairs: good flow, hidden lake, wet copper, temporary lid, charming partner.

 

 

Notice how in some collocations and in some multi-syllable words all words or syllables have a fall intonation not just the main tone.

Notice how in some collocations and in some multisyllabic words all words or syllables have a fall intonation not just the main tone. Shown words: royal dozen, total contradiction, occasional curiosity, busy beard.

 

 

Chapter 2, Exercise 6

Learn to Use the Fall Intonation Combined with Saucissonnage.

Text 1

Centuries ago↗, when kings↗, emperors↗, and warlords↗ reigned over much ↘ of the world↗, it was the English↘ who first spelled ↘ out the rights↘ and liberties↘ of man in the Magna↘ Carta↘. It was here↗, in this very hall↗, where the rule of law first developed, ↗ courts were established↗, disputes were settled ↗ , and citizens ↘ came to petition↘ their leaders. ↘

 

If you want to download the MP3 file of Text 1 and analyze it in Speech Analyzer, click the button below:

Download Text 1

 

 

Text 2

It was centuries ago↘. Kings, ↘ emperors ↘ , and warlords ↗ reigned over much↘ of the world↘. It was the English↘ who first spelled↘ out the rights ↘ and liberties↘ of man in the Magna↘ Carta↘. It happened here↘, it happened in this very hall↘. It was here ↗ where the rule of law first developed↘. Courts ↘were established↘. Disputes↘ were settled ↘ . Citizens↘ came to petition↘ their leaders↘.

 There are 4 mistakes in how the transcription above shows the intonation compared to the audio file. Can you identify them?
 
  Click here for correct answer!

If you want to download the MP3 file of Text 2 and analyze it in Speech Analyzer, click the button below:

Download Text 2

 

This completes exercises in this chapter.
 
 
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HAPPY INTERPRETING!

 

© Cyril Flerov/InterStar Translations and Michael Jacobs , 2014, All Rights Reserved.